28 November 2021: Thanksgiving is now in our wake and Hanukkah and Christmas loom. And soon it will be another new year ... maybe better maybe not. Things seem to be spiraling out of control everywhere so the prospect of more of the same or, God forbid, worse, does not seem too unlikely! Perhaps not, though! We hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good one - there is much to be thankful for in spite of all the divisiveness and crap flying around.
Last week, we posted ten maritime superstitions with the promise of ten more this week. Never let it be said we don't follow through. From multiple sources, the final ten - and yes, often silly - superstitions about seafaring.
10. Non-sailing days
It was bad luck to sail on Thursdays (God of Storms, Thor’s day) or Fridays (the day Jesus was executed), the first Monday in April (the day Cain killed Abel), the second Monday in August (the day Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed), and 31 December (the day on which Judas Iscariot hanged himself). [ed: in an effort to disprove this superstition, a captain in the Royal Navy whose name was Friday, set sail in a ship named HMS Friday, on a Friday. Neither he nor the ship was ever heard from again!]
9. Watch your mouth
Some words and sayings brought about bad luck on board, including "drowned", "goodbye” and "good luck". Things to do with the land were believed to be bad luck if mentioned, such as the church, pigs, foxes, cats, and rabbits.
8. No whistling
Whistling or singing into the wind was forbidden as it would "whistle up a storm"
7. No farewell
It was bad luck for seafaring men’s wives to call out to them or wave goodbye once they stepped out the door to leave for a voyage.
6. Stirring tea
Stirring tea with a knife or fork would invite bad luck
5. Turning a loaf of bread upside down
Turning a loaf of bread upside down once it had been cut brings bad luck too.
These two seem to be superstitions that existed on land as well as at sea!
Like flat-footed people, red-heads were believed to bring bad luck to a ship. If you met one before boarding, the only way to mitigate the bad luck was to speak to them before they could speak to you.
It was bad luck for one crewman to pass the salt pot to another directly. Presumably one could put it down and the other could pick it up.
In order to encourage fish to be caught, Scottish fishermen would begin their fishing session by throwing one of the crew members overboard and then hauling him back on
No bananas on board. They were believed to be so unlucky they would cause the ship to be lost. Whole cargoes of bananas were especially frightening for sailors.
So there you have it friends. Don't pass the salt pot to your mate while a redhead is eating a banana on board on Friday! And for Pete's sake, no whistling!
Until next time.